It was Thursday, 2nd of October, Gandhi Jayanthi and Saturday, 4th of October was Dasara – A Friday’s leave invested meant another long weekend on offer! Yay! We had planned this well in advance! Actually Jyothi did. We had our stay booked at Meriyanda Nature Lodge. While going through the reviews, this had turned out to be one of the most sought after stays in the Coorg area. We were skeptical about the availability – even three weeks before the actual dates. Fortunately, one of the Planter’s Cottage was still available and we grabbed it without a second thought.
The resort cottages are excellent with a huge sit out opening up to the view of the coffee plantation and the Coorg hills and mountains beyond. One of the walls of the cottage is mostly glass and fully open giving you a very nice view of the surroundings.
Also, one unique thing about the cottages – no TV, no Cellular signal and other distractions. This meant lots of interactions with other folks in the resort. We made several friends there during our stay! Along with others, Donald Pereira and family were friends we made and got along well – we had breakfast , lunch and dinner together for the rest of our stay there in the woods. Donald and Zarine are originally from Goa and settled in Doha and were visiting their kids – Christian and Stefan, who were on Dasara vacation. What a time we had together!
It was Dasara! That meant, a lot of fun and frolic in the resort! It was a totally festive atmosphere out there! Meriyanda had arranged numerous activities – Dandiya, games , a professional free-style drummer troupe etc.
Sharing some memories from the trip.
Us and the Pereiras
Republic Day and a long weekend! Something had to be planned, but had not been planned. It was a last minute dash to head to the western ghats and hike up the mountains there. Mullayanagiri and Bababudangiri were the two candidates chosen. Myself, Boda (Rajavardhan) and Paccha (Prashant) headed out of Bangalore towards Chikmagalur by around 3pm on the Saturday, the 24th Jan 2015.
While on the way, we frantically try to hunt down a hotel room, motel room, a dormitory or anything which we could just sleep for the night. But Chikmagalur was full, with absolutely nothing available there. We would reach the place by 9pm in the night. Finally, Boda decided to call his uncle and arrange something since his uncle knew someone influential. And Muthodi Forest Camp it would be. We reach there in the dead of the night – it was midnight on the absolutely stunning star filled skies all through our drive in the forests. We woke up the cook as advised and asked him for our accommodation for the night. It was the Salim Ali Room in the forest camp – an open room, museum by the day. With nothing to sleep on, we decided to use our tents and sleeping bags which we had taken along with us. It was a pretty sleepless night. A stuffed tiger on a stone pedestal gave us company through the rest of the night.
The next morning, we were longing for a hot cup of tea, some warmth and information. We went to the cook’s room and found all that. We freshened up and enquired about the hike to the mountains – Mullayanagiri and Bababudangiri and were told no camping up there. We decided we would try our luck in Kemmanagundi. The road to Kemmanagundi through the Muthodi reserve is a really run down forest trail. We found a small village on our way and had breakfast – neer dosa. That was the only option we had as it was already ready and to prepare anything would take time. We hogged on what was available and proceeded. No metal, very uneven – our progress was slow through the forests. But we were presented with stunning sceneries, beautiful landscapes, blue winter skies. No complaints there. We reached the forest check post and parked out cars there and decided to hike. Again, no camping up in the mountains:( But we decided to head out towards the famous ‘Z’ Point. It didn’t take us long to get to the ‘Z’ Point and reached the top by around 4pm. We spent an hour or so up there and headed back before sunset. The landscape was a beautiful one. Kemmanagundi was slowly but surely restoring its vegetation after several years of abuse through mining the rich ores!
Some pictures from the trip.
One of the best hikes I have ever undertaken. It starts with a lazy hike and gets tougher as you reach higher altitudes. This is a trail where you can push yourselves to the brink or take it easy.
You get to witness some of the world’s tallest peaks all together. The one below doesn’t need any introduction.
HDR – Everest From Kalapattar.
Emphasis on the cloud pattern and the snow capped peaks. A HDR image made with 7 exposure-bracketed images. Shot from Kalapattar(5600meters/18,400ft above MSL). Handheld.
Click Here for Mountainscapes – Everest Region